Repurposing a business

Philip Jones


Many business owners must adapt their businesses to continue trading in some form during a crisis.

Below is a business plan process which can focus your mind as a business owner on the key areas that will make an impact to your business and what paths are available to you.


Some businesses can’t afford to close for a long period of time, so if your business is struggling during a crisis here are two choices for you to consider:

  • Provide the same product/ service in a similar way. For example, restaurants can just provide a takeaway service and even reduce the menu.
  • Repurpose the business to provide a new service to a new customer.

Both cases ensure the business stays open and receives some type of income. Repurposing the business can strengthen its reputation as it can still support the community during a crisis. 

Here are some questions you should ask yourself as a business owner when deciding which choice to make:

Continue providing the same product / service

  • What is the current demand for my product / service and how will that change over time?
  • How can I adapt my business to continue serving customers?
  • What will revenue and costs of this choice be?
  • Can I ensure the safety of staff and stakeholders?


  • Are there any current products / services on the market in high demand that your business could repurpose to serve? (For example; Didsbury gin started manufacturing hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 crisis, read the story here)
  • What is the current and future demand of this product / service?
  • What will the revenue and costs of this choice be?
  • Can I ensure the safety of staff and stakeholders?

If you are struggling to decide which path to take, take the opportunity to raise the conversation with your team to get their opinion. This will engage your team and they may have creative ideas you’ve not even thought of.

If your business is in the position to be able to both trade and repurpose you should consider whether the business can do both or you’ll have to decide which one to go ahead with. 

If you’ve made the decision to Continue Trading:

When a business chooses to continue to trade it means that there is still demand from the customer and they can somehow deliver that service. E.g. a restaurant providing a takeaway service or a hairdresser selling their product range online.

Here are some other examples during the COVID-19 crisis:


If you’ve made the decision to repurpose your business:

When a business chooses to repurpose, this is to address an increase in demand for a product / service.

The decision to repurpose a business should comply with the various regulations and laws of the relevant government department / trade body / relevant organization, especially if manufacturing healthcare equipment.

Here are some examples of businesses repurposing recently during the COVID-19 crisis:


For a business owner, when trying to find a way to keep your business operating it is important to find a suitable pivot with sustainable financial performance.

When repurposing, a business may have a new supply chain and a new customer. Supply chains should be chosen along with considerations of the cost of materials, operating costs and other financial elements before closing a deal.

Next is deciding the selling price of the new product or service you’re offering. Whilst high demand gives you an upper hand on pricing, in certain circumstances it is important to remember the full context of the crisis and impact it could have on your reputation if you set your prices too high. Some businesses have decided to give back to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When repurposing a business, there will be a new product and customer, so it is important to make sure as a business owner that you understand the supply chain and what’s required to provide the good product or service to who you aim to sell too.

Other things to consider

Make sure you have all the necessary permission or approval to carry out change to your business. The government has helped in some cases, by extending permitted development rights restaurants do not need to apply for planning permission to provide take away food for example.

Contact us if you are planning changes in your business and would like advice on how to achieve your goals on 0161 476 8276 or email

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